Students from Ballston Spa Middle School recently participated in a “Bring the High-Tech World to Middle School” program at Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART facility in Malta. Over 75 students attended the event and heard about the importance of STEM learning and its impact on their future, regardless of career choice. State Senator Roy McDonald and Assemblyman Tony Jordan both greeted the students and encouraged them to continue to learn more about the semiconductor and green technology fields highlighted during the day’s activities. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Vice–President for Operations and Energy Services Robert Callender also informed the students about the unique facility and the importance of the partnerships and leaders who made it possible.
As part of the “Connect a Million Minds” campaign sponsored by Time Warner Cable, the program focused specifically on a “Cracking the Codes in the Wireless World” curriculum for middle school students. John Quigley, Area Vice President for Time Warner Cable, encouraged the students to explore the high-tech world as they participated in the day’s activities, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math. Students proceeded to learn more by participating in the hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum that connects the technology that underlies business to foundations in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and in the process, encourages students to pursue STEM-related education and careers.
The program’s hands-on experiences included activities for small groups of students as they rotated through learning stations entitled “Digital Content”, “Code Crackers”, “Wireless and WiFi”, “More, better, faster”, “Any Content, Anytime, Anywhere, Any device” and “Build the Backhaul”. “It’s such a great experience for kids to be able to experience new and different ways energy can be used”, indicated 8th grader Marley Amico. “I had a great time and it has totally changed my outlook on things such as solar panels and cars running on battery power.”
The students also explored the facility, including specific tours of TEC-SMART’s five laboratories focusing on photovoltaic, home energy efficiency, geothermal, alternative fuels and wind energy. Sixth grader Jonathon Rossetti was very excited about the entire visit and specifically stated that he “learned a lot about how a clean room worked (for semiconductor manufacturing) as well as how the building used geothermal wells to heat and cool the facility”. Additional information was presented to the students from Time Warner Cable before they left the facility for a bus tour of the GLOBALFOUNDRIES facility being constructed in the neighboring tech park.
Students from the Ballston Spa will now be attending classes at Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART facility in a bold new program that will redefine collaboration and regionalization among school districts. School officials have announced that starting next year, students in 11th grade will be able to participate in a rigorous academic program focusing on clean technologies and sustainable industries that provides the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and college credits concurrently. For additional information, please visit the district website at www.bscsd.org or call 884-7195.